TAG | The Ides of March
So many movies lately have tried to tackle the most boring aspect of a topic in the forefront of our lives and try to turn it into something thrilling. Of the topics the one I’m mostly uninterested in is politics- mostly because it’s a topic so rich with varying opinions and voices way more qualified to share their opinion that throwing my hat in the ring would be as ill advised as putting a blind man behind the wheel of a car entering a Nascar race. While politics is not my bread and butter I can recognize when a film conveys the ugliness and shady conversations behind closed doors in an effective way. THE IDES OF MARCH is a film that will talk your ear off at nauseam until it turns you finally realize you are chin deep in a tense thriller with zero threat of any real physical violence- it’s not a glamorous accomplishment but an accomplishment nonetheless.
Dirty politics takes center stage when Stephen Meyers (Ryan Gosling) has to learn the hard way that when it comes to winning a presidential nomination some people will stop at nothing to secure a win. Stephen works for presidential hopeful Governor Mike Morris (George Clooney) and his senior campaign manager Paul Zara (Philip Seymour Hoffman). However, when opposing campaign manager Tom Duffy (Paul Giamatti) offers him a job and a pretty blonde intern seduces him, Stephen finds his loyalties spiraling out of control.
More than anything else THE IDES OF MARCH is a film about characters. What I mean is that yes there’s plot and things do happen but really everything in the film relies on the characters themselves. Where lots of films put characters in dicey situations and let them work their way through them this one is nothing more than characters in their job and how their personalities and personal demons control what they do or say. Every movie has characters that do things and say things but for me I wasn’t as hooked on the actual political race the characters are involved in as I was with their motivations and reactions to what other characters say and do. So when I say this is a film about characters what I really want to push across is that this is not a film about people running for a presidential nomination but instead is about how loyalties and motivations can change on a dime when a person’s livelihood and moral code is pushed to the edge.
It’s not a perfect theory to say the least but to a more direct point I will just say the performances in THE IDES OF MARCH are top notch. George Clooney, Paul Giamatti, Ryan Gosling and Philip Seymour Hoffman all bring their characters to life and each of them has a different but distinct voice. Their characters are pushed and tested and you watch each and every interaction play out never knowing exactly how any one character will react. It’d be a disservice to any specific actor to single one out as better than another as they all give great performances and are leveled out in a way where none of them tip the scale in regards to anyone else in the cast.
All that being said the film itself is not perfect. As tense and engaging as the conversations between characters are and how great the performances are the film at times does feel a bit long. There are stretches that while acted well and don’t harm the tone of the film do make the time drag ever so slightly. Sometimes scenes of silence linger which also slows the pace down but also could be intentional just to add to the uncomfortable nature of the scene.
The performances are the standout of the film and it’s because of that the characters are about the only impression I was left with at the end. I wasn’t left with a profound reaction to how the election turned out outside of the implications of what characters had to do to get to that place. The dirty politics that eventually go in play make the dynamics between characters that much more interesting but their goal wasn’t as groundbreaking as you’d hope. That’s not a knock against the film as a whole because the film is held up and to great effect by the power of the writing and the performances in spite of how generic the actual plot around the characters happens to be.
When you look back at great thrillers a good handful usually involve key characters in mortal danger, most get killed or some sort of physical violence lurks just around the corner and at times I thought THE IDES OF MARCH would go there but it never does and I have to applaud the film for it. There are some darker aspects in the film for sure but given that the film is tense and engaging without character whipping guns or knives at each other and instead hurl lots of dialogue back and forth I believe the tension is that much more impressive. However as great as the initial viewing of the film is I still feel like the story is generic enough that there is little reason to continue revisiting it. The leads all knock it out of the park and easily make the film as watchable as it is but overall seeing it once was perfectly enough- yet there’d be no reason to hold a gun to my head if I was asked to watch it again.
The 2011 Golden Globes nominations have been announced. I don't pay them much attention as an awards barometer since their nominations can be purchased (the Globes are run by the shoddy Hollywood Foreign Press Association) and the event is more to get a bunch of celebrities in a room together and hand them an over-valued award. But that doesn't mean it's not a fun show to watch and this year should be plenty entertaining with Ricky Gervais returning to host.
As for the nominees, you'll find the usual suspects: The Artist, The Descendants, Hugo, The Help, and Midnight in Paris. I have to give the Globes credit for having a separate comedy category, which allows actors like Brendan Gleeson (The Guard) and Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids) to get nominated. As for "snubs" (again, it's tough to take the Globes nominations seriously), nothing from The Muppets was nominated for Best Song . Hit the jump for the full list of nominees. Winners will be announced on January 15th.
[Hat tip to Russ at /Film for transcribing the movie nominees as they were announced live this morning]
BEST PICTURE: DRAMA
The Ides of March
BEST PICTURE: COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Midnight in Paris
My Week With Marilyn
Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
George Clooney, The Ides of March
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Alexander Payne, The Descendants
Martin Scorsese, Hugo
BEST ACTRESS: COMEDY/MUSICAL
Jodie Foster, Carnage
Charlize Theron, Young Adult
Kristin Wiig, Bridesmaids
Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn
Kate Winslet, Carnage
BEST ACTOR: COMEDY/MUSICAL
Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Brendan Gleeson, The Guard
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, 50/50
Ryan Gosling, Crazy, Stupid, Love
Owen Wilson, Midnight ...
Shortly before George Clooney's The Ides of March hit theaters, I sat down with Brian Oliver, President and CEO of Cross Creek Pictures, for an exclusive interview. While you may not be familiar with Cross Creek Pictures or even Brian Oliver, that's about to change. I say this because last year they produced Darren Aronofsky 's Black Swan, Ides of March, Ron Howard's Rush and the Gothic horror film The Woman in Black starring Daniel Radcliffe. In addition, they're developing a Steve McQueen biopic that will star Jeremy Renner, two Eli Roth projects that will shoot next year, the real life story of mobster Whitey Bulger (Black Mass), and the Colin Firth/Emily Blunt film Arthur Newman, Golf Pro. So, like I said, Cross Creek is about to hit your radar.
During my extended conversation with Oliver we talked about Cross Creek's plans for the future, what they have in development and the status of each project, how he ended up running the company, how the success of Black Swan has impacted their future plans, and so much more. I've also put together a list of "15 Things to Know" in case you just want the highlights. Hit the jump for more.
Since I know a lot of you won't have the time to read the interview, here's "15 Things to Know" from my Brian Oliver interview. You can also click here to listen to the full conversation.
As President and CEO of Cross Creek Pictures, Oliver acts as both the producer and financier ...
It may not be the overwhelming win that its pricey PR push promised, but America’s new number one movie Real Steel did score the highest debut of any truly ‘new’ release since Rise of the Planet of the Apes two months ago. With $27.3 million from its 3,440 locations, the family-friendly robot boxing movie also earned almost three times what its nearest competitor, George Clooney’s The Ides of March, saw on its first weekend.
The Ides of March
The Lion King 3D
What’s Your Number?
If you’ve been paying attention to the box office for the past two months you know that there was almost no question that Real Steel would come out on top this weekend. It wasn’t that the PG-13 film had strong tracking (it didn’t) or a built-in fanbase (well, maybe just the devotees of Mattel’s “Rock ’em Sock ’em Robots”); nope. Real Steel’s ascendency was pre-ordained by the fact that audiences had run out of holdover titles to favor.
The past nine weeks have seen just two new releases hit number one, not including the re-release of The Lion King 3D: the aforementioned Apes and Contagion. The law of diminishing returns demanded that a newbie step up and, goofy trailers or not, the boxing robots of Real Steel were really the only option. With a first place finish a lock, the only question was how big a domestic opening the Shawn Levy pic could command.
All along, projection’s seemed to have the picture stalling in the $25 million range ...
At this year’s Toronto Film Festival, I was able to speak with Max Minghella about starring in director George Clooney’s political drama The Ides of March. Co-starring Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Evan Rachel Wood, Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei, and Jeffrey Wright, the pic takes place during the tension-filled days leading up to an all-important Ohio presidential primary where a press secretary (Gosling) finds himself in the middle of a scandal that could upend his candidate’s (Clooney) shot at winning. Loaded with great performances and a smart script, The Ides of March is really well done and definitely worth your time.
During the interview, Minghella talked about how he got involved in the project, working with the great cast and for Clooney, karaoke, and what's the last video game he played, In addition, Minghella talked about director Chris Gorak's The Darkest Hour. Hit the jump to watch.
How does he deal with doing press all day
What's his karaoke song
What's the last video game he's played
How did he get cast in the film
How was Clooney to work with
Talks about The Darkest Hour and what it's about
At this year’s Toronto Film Festival, I was able to speak with Evan Rachel Wood about starring in director George Clooney’s political drama The Ides of March. Co-starring Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei, and Jeffrey Wright, the pic takes place during the tension-filled days leading up to an all-important Ohio presidential primary where a press secretary (Gosling) finds himself in the middle of a scandal that could upend his candidate's (Clooney) shot at winning. Loaded with great performances and a smart script, The Ides of March is really well done and definitely worth your time.
During the interview, Wood talked about how she got involved in the project, working with the great cast, filming in Ohio, the kind of research she does for her roles, and what she takes away from being on True Blood. In addition, Wood revealed she really wants to do a stoner comedy. Hit the jump to watch the interview and Wood doing some Janis Joplin.
Finally, if you missed my video interviews with Ryan Gosling, Paul Giamatti and Jeffrey Wright, click the links.
Evan Rachel Wood
How has she been enjoying TIFF so far
How did she get involved in Ides of March
Talks about getting a phone call from George Clooney
What kind of research does she typically do for her roles and what did she do for on this one
What's her karaoke song (it's on YouTube)
What's the last video game she's played
How many takes does she like to do
What was it like to film in ...
The Ides of March, based on the play Farragut North, is the fourth directorial effort for George Clooney. And like his most successful, Good Night and Good Luck, his role in the film is relatively minor as compared to the cast that shines around him.
In the play that The Ides of March is based on, the Clooney character -- a Northeast governor facing a crucial Ohio Democratic presidential primary -- is not seen. Oh, he is talked about by political operatives of both sides of the final two candidates in line to run for president.
Establishing the Governor Mike Morris character in The Ides of March as a living, breathing entity is far from an actor-director who inserted a character for the sake of screen time. Not only does Clooney control the behind the scenes action on The Ides of March, his character centers the morality tale for our time.
Yet, it is not Clooney’s movie.
Ryan Gosling commands almost every frame of the film. His political communication expert is the best at what he does. Gosling’s Stephen Myers, even in this presidential primary’s eleventh hour, is being courted by the other side -- specifically, Paul Giamatti’s political consultant Tom Duffy.
A meeting between the two sets off a firestorm of political espionage where the audience keeps thinking they’re at the end of that journey down a questionable moral road only to find it keeps adding to the mountain of everything is not what it seems.
Gosling provides the movie’s balancing act. Every great political film treads water around the line of right and wrong and the reality of the political process. And as Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman did with their collective acting prowess in All the President’s Men, Gosling commands it in a single character.
Giamatti is in the film for barely 20 minutes, yet his impact weighs heavy on the entire story. Philip Seymour Hoffman, as Gosling’s campaign boss, wields an acting power that is subtle and subversive. In director Clooney’s wheelhouse, this is a cast primed for grand slams every time. Even Jeffrey Wright as a Democratic presidential candidate, who recently dropped out, is another bombshell waiting to happen in every scene he inhabits.
Marisa Tomei is a New York Times reporter, and although she sends shivers as Ida Horowicz, her character never gets fully fleshed out to add to the weight of the entity that is The ides of March.
Clooney (don't miss our George Clooney Ides of March interview) and writing partner Grant Heslove first planned on filming The Ides of March in 2008. Then, Barack Obama won the presidency and there was too much hope on the political landscape to make a movie with such cynicism towards the political process.
In no way a statement on the Obama presidency in 2011, The Ides of March’s timing is perfect, as today, the headlines are permeated with like-minded scandals that breathe of fire, yet still are managed to be swept under carpets -- unfortunately while still disenfranchising many.
Clooney and company establish a world in The Ides of March that feels like a play that it was based on, and still does not feel like the audience is watching a play on film. With a cast of award-winning actors, a story that compels, and a scope that is truly beyond that of a single political dalliance, The Ides of March moves us to action.
At this year’s Toronto Film Festival, I was able to speak with Ryan Gosling about starring in director George Clooney’s political drama The Ides of March. Starring Clooney, Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood and Jeffrey Wright, the pic takes place during the tension-filled moments leading up to an all-important Ohio presidential primary where a press secretary (Gosling) finds himself in the middle of a scandal that could upend his candidates’ (Clooney) shot at winning. Loaded with great performances and a smart script, The Ides of March is really well done and definitely worth your time.
During the interview, Gosling talked about how he got involved in the project, working with the great cast, filming in Ohio, what it’s like having two big films come out at the same time, and does he prefer the Clint Eastwood two-take method or the David Fincher way of doing things. In addition, Gosling talked about working with director Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine) again on The Place Beyond the Pines and what the film is about. Hit the jump to watch.
Finally, if you missed my video interviews with Paul Giamatti and Jeffrey Wright, click the links.
What's the last year or two been like as he's landed some very high profile jobs
How did he get attached to Ides of March
Working with Paul Giamatti and the rest of the cast
Is he a fan of the Clint Eastwood ...
New posters have gone online for Real Steel, The Ides of March, and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. The Real Steel poster finally uses Hugh Jackman's mug instead of his silhouette or the boxing robot's camel-fist. Speaking of handsome faces, Ryan Gosling is a good-looking dude looking at fellow attractive gent George Clooney in the poster for the political thriller The Ides of March. I'll let folks in the comments section debate who's hotter (answer: Clooney). Finally, there's a UK quad poster for Tomas Alfredson's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy that's packed with blurbs from British publications raving about the movie.
Hit the jump to check out the posters. Real Steel and The Ides of March open October 7th. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy opens in the UK on September 16th and in the US on December 9th.
Poster via DreamWorks Pictures.
Here's the synopsis for Real Steel:
A gritty, white-knuckle, action ride set in the near-future where the sport of boxing has gone high-tech, Real Steel stars Hugh Jackman as Charlie Kenton, a washed-up fighter who lost his chance at a title when 2000-pound, 8-foot-tall steel robots took over the ring. Now nothing but a small-time promoter, Charlie earns just enough money piecing together low-end bots from scrap metal to get from one underground boxing venue to the next. When Charlie hits rock bottom, he reluctantly teams up with his estranged son Max (Dakota Goyo) to build and train a championship contender. As the stakes in the brutal, ...